I’m Glad To Have an Emergency Fund

I actually call mine the Loving Buffer fund. That 3-6 months’ worth of expenses that all the money-smarty-pants people tell you to have in the bank.

It took me a while to get traction and actually save it. It was just so hypothetical. I couldn’t well imagine why I might need that “extra” money for some nondescript future where I wasn’t able to fully work.

I have a sad story to tell you about how much my Loving Buffer is helping me this week.

Many of us have loved an addict or someone with mental illness, who just couldn’t seem to get or stay well. I met one of those people about 2 and a half years ago. I knew immediately we were kindreds and I wanted to help him in the ways I had been helped. I helped him as much as I could, and then things took a turn for the darker for him. I had to step back and take some distance, which was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, after feeling so bonded to someone, and so committed to their soul’s growth.

What had blossomed for him on the healing path died off. He self-destructed and no one could reach him, professional or amateur. He ended up taking his life this previous weekend. What has happened since I got the news on Tuesday morning has changed me forever. Well, meeting and loving him changed me forever, and then being present and available for this process is changing me too.

Without the Loving Buffer fund being there for me, I think it would have been highly likely that I would have powered through the immense grief and tried to push hard to keep earning money this week. It has been uncomfortable to have to reschedule clients, and to do nothing all day but sleep, talk to other people who loved him, and feed myself, even though there is no hint of appetite. It troubles me that I haven’t returned emails about important things to schedule, but death is an instant clarifier of perspective. It’s astounding to me how tiring it is to grieve. It’s also astounding to me how I “knew” something was dreadfully wrong before I got the news. He transitioned on Sunday night (and then remember I was told on Tuesday morning). On Monday I felt full of lead, and it was nearly impossible to do anything. I felt so ill I had to cancel a meeting I had been looking forward to, even though I had no idea why I was feeling so bad. I told someone that I felt “pregnant with struggle”; I mean, physically so it felt like something inside of me was kicking and squirming and fighting.

We had a beautiful candlelight vigil in our community for him, and for us, last night. I’m glad that I had the energy to be there and hold space, as a result of being able to take time away from working and exercising my usual schedule.

Oh wow. I just got a phone call as I was typing this, that he named me as beneficiary for his 401K. I was very guided to write this newsletter at this particular time. No accident that the phone call gets to be a part of the process. I’m glad to feel guided with how to best dedicate that money in his honor. I’m glad I don’t “need” it to survive, and can share it towards what would have made him proud to be part of. I’m glad I feel comfortable with talking about the money with others, and with family members as needed.

I’m telling this shocking news to you because:

a) I care, and want anyone who has the slightest inclination of wanting to live, to know that there is help and kindness available.

b) All the work I’ve done around money and reducing my anxiety around it, is helping an extremely touching grief process be possible without inordinate distraction. I thank both teachers and students for keeping me engaged in this study.

c) Sometimes pain works its worst when we isolate. Better to be uncomfortable and share this and keep going in this life, in my experience.

d) Other people helped me long ago by saying basically, trust me, you’ll need and want this emergency fund some day. I’m telling that to you now. Doesn’t matter how many times you’ve ignored it before. Take a little action on putting together your own Loving Buffer, if you haven’t already. Not having to worry about money right now is something I am extremely grateful for.

Blessings on all of us. Blessings on his tragic transition. Blessings on those who are suffering in silence. May they find warmth, and strength to carry on to enjoy the richness that is available in health and life.